Who? Freeman Boyd, indirectly-- Richard Simmons, somewhat directly.
What is chasing down rabbit holes and what is following a lead? I guess if you get a result. But with my deficit of attention, I really blur the lines for myself.
Take my latest quest, to find information about Freeman Boyd, a long ago ancestor. I'm trying to investigate all possible avenues before I quit flogging this horse, so last weekend I sat down to really pour over the facts. This is a set of interesting circumstances that don't necessarily relate directly to Freeman, but are an interesting side note to my ancestry Richard Simmons. Jokes concerning the more known and living R Simmons aside, Richard's family and the Boyd/Smith families were closely allied during the early years of Jasper county. All families purchased or obtained land near the others in the Montrose/Mt Vernon area and they all ran small farming operations. Several family members married within the other's ranks further solidifying the bonds.
This leads me to my case at hand: William Simmons, son of Richard marries Elmira Smith, daughter of Reddick Smith. Possibly around 1857, I don't have a date. It is the life of William that most interests me at this point. In 1860, he and wife Elmira are on the census rolls in Jasper county with two kid, James and Martha. In 1861, William and his brother James enlist in the Allahoma Hardshells, the Jasper volunteer force of the Confederacy. According to military records, by the end of 1861, William was ferlowed for medical reasons in Florida. At some point, he returned to Jasper County where he and Elmira parted company, probably a legal divorce since 3 years later, he married Nancy Mitchum in Jackson County Alabama and had two more children over the next four years.
Here are my questions, and interest: What made William go to Jackson County Alabama? I do know that land records show that A Richard Simmons obtained land in Jackson county Alabama back in 1835, but I have no way of knowing if this is the same Richard. Jackson county is near by Cherokee county where I have information that Richard married Sarah Huff and was possibly living there according to the 1840 census. Also in that same census, there were a Cage(?), Jane and William Simmons living in Jackson county with all the male being of similar age to Richard. It is likely that these people still lived in Jackson county at least until 1860 because land records show them obtaining land around that time.
Could Richard still have had land and relatives in that area, so young William moved there?
By the 1866 Mississippi census, former wife Elmira and brother James's newly widow Caroline Rush Simmons were listed in households next to Richard.
Ok, here's the MOST interesting part: According to public records, Andrew J Mitchum, Nancy Mitchum Simmons's brother, was allegedly murdered by a Peter Simmons in 1869 in Madison County AL. According to a quote from "Marriages, Deaths, and Legal Notices from Early Alabama Newspapers 1819-1893" "Andrew J Michum was killed by Peter Simmons in Madison County last Thursday week, Difficulty grew out of settling some business affairs" Madison Co court records show two charges against B C Mitchem for assault with intent to commit murder, under the two charges are penciled in Peter Simmons and Thompson G Simmons. Also listed is the charge of murder against Peter Simmons. Researchers couldn't find any records as to whether these men were found guilty of the charges because of missing court documents in Madison Co AL.
I have no indications as to whether these Simmons's are related to our Simmons, but investigations show that Peter and Thompson were the sons of A William Simmons b VA 1793 who resided in Franklin TN in 1850 with his wife, Bearsheba and 5 children. This William died sometime in the 1850's because wife Bearsheba is remarried to a Banks fellow and has other children in addition to sons James Simmons and Thompson. In the 1860, these teen aged boys are listed with assets so possibly they inherited some wealth from their father. Peter isn't listed with the family at that time.
How did these brothers wind up in Madison County?
Also, what does that have to do with our young family, William and Nancy. Well according to reseachers's birth records, their youngest child, William Barkley was born in Lauderdale county MS in 1867. Seems the young family was making their way back down south. William again parted with this family at some point over the next couple of years because by 1874, both Nancy and William were remarried. Nancy married an Underwood and is buried in the Louin Cemetery. William remmarried and eventually settled in Louisiana were he had three confirmed and possibly five other children.
Now rabbit hole or lead... still some chasing to do.